Kim Jong-un affirmed an ‘unwavering commitment to complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula’ in a signed document on Tuesday, President Donald Trump said.
‘We’re prepared to start a new history, and we’re ready to write a new chapter between our two nations,’ he told a packed room of reporters at a press conference in Singapore.
Pyongyang’s nuclear weapons program will come to an end, he predicted, claiming that Kim had already left Singapore and was ‘on his way back’ to North Korea to begin implementing their joint vows.
‘I believe he’s going to live up to that document,’ Trump said after a day that included nearly 5 hours of face time with Kim. ‘Our eyes are wide open, but peace is always worth the effort, especially in this case.’
Trump said he knows ‘for a fact that as soon as he arrives’ in Pyongyang, Kim is ‘going to start a process that makes a lot of people very happy’ even though the statement that his White House provided to press made no mention of an agreed upon timetable for denuclearization.
‘He wants to do that. This isn’t the past. This isn’t another administration that never got it started and therefore never got it done,’ Trump said, tweaking the Obama administration.
In an interview before he met with Kim, Trump told ABC News that he trusts his North Korean adversary to keep his promises and denuclearize his country.
‘I do trust him, yeah,’ the president said. ‘Maybe in a year you’ll be interviewing and I’ll say I made a mistake. It’s possible. We’re dealing at a high level, a lot of things can change a lot of things are possible.’
He added that trust is returned.
‘He trusts me, I believe, I really do,’ he said. ‘He said no other president could have done this. I think he trusts me, and I trust him.’
Trump told reporters that he became convinced that Kim was serious when he agreed to dismantle a sophisticated missile engine testing site. ‘We’re much further along than I would have thought.’
At the same time, he agreed that there are no guarantees that Kim will tear apart what he called ‘a very substantial arsenal.’
‘Can you ensure anything?’ he asked. ‘All I can say is: They want to make a deal. … Can anybody be certain? But we’re going to be certain soon because the negotiations continue.’
‘I may be wrong,’ he allowed. ‘I may stand before you in six months and say, “Hey, I was wrong.” ‘
And then with a sly smile, Trump joked: ‘I don’t know that I’ll ever admit that, but I’ll find some kind of an excuse.’
The president said Tuesday afternoon that he had been working around the clock helping to cement the terms of what he hopes will be an iron-clad agreement that Kim will honor. That would mark a change from North Korea’s past performance on pacts with the West.
‘I haven’t slept in 25 hours, but I thought it was important to do,’ he said, animated as ever in gesture and vocal cadence.
Trump made no promises about relaxing the economic sanctions that have strangled the hermit kingdom for years yet said he was ‘actually looking forward to taking them off’ if Kim follows through on his commitments.
He speculated about exchanging ambassadors with North Korea ‘hopefully soon’ but cautioned that ‘it’s a little bit early for that.’
A first step would be a White House invitation. The U.S. president again said he’s open to inviting Kim to the U.S. and visiting Pyongyang himself. ‘At a certain time, I will,’ he said of a conversation with Kim in the Oval Office.
He also projected that hostilities between the North and South ‘will soon end’ because ‘the past does not have to define the future.’
‘Anyone can make war, but only the most courageous can make peace. The current state of affairs cannot continue forever,’ Trump proclaimed in his second news conference this week on foreign soil.
Tuesday’s press conference opened with a gimmick that White House official said would be surprising and was quickly smacked down as government propaganda. A video aired, first in Korean and then in English, that Trump said his delegation showed Kim on an iPad to encourage him to choose the right path – ‘a version of what could happen, what could take place.’
Trump said he spotted inviting-looking beaches in the footage, and said: ‘Look at that beach, wouldn’t that make a great condo? … Think of it from a real estate perspective!’
He allowed that Kim may not want as much modernization as the United States, a thrivin’g democracy, has and that the autocrat may want to ‘do a smaller version of this’ when sanctions are lifted.
‘You may not want that with the trains and everything. Super everything. Maybe you won’t want that,’ he said. ‘It will be up to them. It will be up to them and up to the people. They may not want that. I can understand that, too.’
The president in a shocking giveaway to North Korea said the U.S. would soon end or scale back longstanding joint military exercises with South Korea, and agreed that they were ‘provocative’ toward the North. He characterized them as ‘very expensive,’ however, and portrayed their end as an economic decision rather than a negotiated concession that the U.S. had previously said it wouldn’t budge on.
‘We stopped playing those war games that cost us a fortune,’ he said in an interview with ABC that was taped before the presser. ‘You know, we’re spending a fortune, every couple of months we’re doing war games with South Korea, and I said, “What’s this costing?”
Trump said, ‘We’re flying planes in from Guam, we’re bombing empty mountains for practice. I said, “I want to stop that and I will stop that, and I think it’s very provocative.’
The president said at his news conference that he had addressed human rights issues during the summit, but downplayed Kim’s brutal past.
‘I believe it’s a rough situation over there. No question about it. We did discuss it today pretty strongly,’ he said. ‘Knowing what the main purpose of what we are doing is here denuking. Discussed at good length. We will be doing something on it. It’s rough.’
Trump insisted that Kim’s human rights abuses were a primary topic of conversation, aside from denuclearization.
‘I think it will change. I think it probably has to,’ he said of changes that Kim will have to embrace in order to hail in the ‘glorious new era’ that he says is North Korea’s for the taking.
Trump also predicted that among the ‘winners’ in the future will be the tens of thousands of people held in North Korea’s prison camps.
And he said Kim was ‘very gracious’ about the prospect of returning the remains of American soldiers buried in North Korea more than a half-century ago: ‘He said “It makes sense, let’s do it”.’
In between the end of his meetings with Kim and his news conference, Trump sat down for several interviews, including one with ABC.
He revealed then that he had spoke to Kim prior to today – a question from reporters he’d previously avoiding answering.
Of the agreement he signed with Kim, Trump said in the interview, ‘It’s a starter, but it’s a terrific document. I think far more — and there are things that we negotiated after that document that are also very important.’
He said that the document does not include a guarantee to stop producing ballistic missiles at certain sites but that Kim said he would. ‘We’re gonna put that out later,’ he explained.
Trump also said that Kim ‘committed to not starting again’ weapons testing that has been on pause already for seven months.
‘That won’t be happening. He means it he really wants to do something I think terrific for their country and it’s the only way it can be it’s the only way it can be terrific.’
As the summit concluded Trump flattered Kim by saying he’s ‘a very talented man’ who ‘loves his country very much’ causing a stir that carried over into the news conference.
‘Well he is very talented. Anybody that takes over a situation like he did at 26 years of age and is able to run it and run it tough – I don’t say he was nice or say anything about it,’ Trump said in equally contentious remarks. ‘He ran it, few people at that age. You can take 1 out of 10,000 could not do it.’
Trump similarly told ABC in response to criticism that he was legitimizing the brutal dictator with his outreach: ‘I’m given what I’m given, okay? I mean, this is what we have, and this is where we are, and I can only tell you from my experience, and I met him, I’ve spoken with him, and I’ve met him. And this was, as you know, started very early and it’s been very intense.’
The U.S. had promised ‘security guarantees’ for North Korea in the lead-up to Trump and Kim’s meeting for the first time during the high-stakes Singapore summit.
‘I don’t wanna talk about it specifically, but we’ve given him, he’s going to be happy,’ Trump said on Tuesday. ‘His country does love him. His people, you see the fervor. They have a great fervor…They’re so hard working, so industrious. I think if you look at South Korea, someday, maybe in the not too distant future, it will be something that.’
Trump president hailed a newly forged ‘special bond’ with Kim following a day of historic talks, praised the dictator as a ‘skilled’ negotiator and said he would ‘absolutely’ invite him to the White House in the future.
Kim told him in turn that it was time to ‘leave the past behind’ and embark on a new era of relations with America. The dictator promised the world will see a ‘major change’ as a result of the summit.
The two men signed a joint statement at the Capella resort that U.S. did not immediately release. News photographers caught sight of the text when Trump flashed a copy to the press but the one-page statement he claimed would be ‘very comprehensive’ did not land in reporters’ inboxes until mid-way through Trump’s long question and answer session.
The agreement reaffirms an earlier declaration signed between North and South Korea, and commits the North to ‘work towards the complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula.’
Another point commits the U.S. and North Korea ‘to establish new U.S.-DPRK relations in accordance with the desire of the peoples of the two countries for peace and prosperity.’
An additional point committed the nations to ‘join their efforts to build a lasting and stable peace regime on the Korean Peninsula.’
The U.S. president says he now expects that he and Kim will meet again – ‘many times’ in the future, telling a room full of journalists representing American and North Korean outlets: ‘This is going to lead to more and more and more and it’s an honor to be with you a very great honor.’
Trump had said as the summit commenced that it was ‘an honor’ to be with Kim and open a direct line of communication that he expects after looking Kim in the eye to blossom into ‘a terrific relationship’ with the longtime U.S. antagonist.
He told journalists later, after a working lunch, that he had a ‘really fantastic meeting’ with Kim that he believes was ‘really, very positive.’
‘I think, better than anybody could have expected, top of the line, really good. We’re going right now for a signing,’ he said.
Talks were apparently going so well Tuesday afternoon that Trump showed Kim his limo, opening a door so he could inspect the car that travels everywhere with the U.S. president and flies in the belly of Air Force One when he’s abroad.
After the summit had ended, Trump assessed that Kim had a ‘great personality’ and is ‘very smart. Good combination.’
Kim, he said, is ‘a worthy negotiator … a very worthy, very smart negotiator. We had a terrific day and we learned a lot about each other and our countries.’
Trump and Kim began the summit with a hearty handshake, exchanging pleasantries for the cameras and meeting one-on-one for 38 minutes with only translators present while the world watched with anticipation as the first-ever meeting between a U.S. president and a North Korean leader unfolded.
Trump told reporters as he sat down for his initial meeting with Kim that he believed they were ‘going to have a great discussion’ that he believed would be a ‘tremendous success.’
‘It will be tremendously successful,’ he reiterated. ‘And it’s an honor, and we will have a terrific relationship, I have no doubt.’
Kim – whose voice is rarely if ever heard in the West – told the U.S. president through an interpreter, ‘Well, it was not easy to get here. The past worked as fetters on our limbs, and the old prejudices and practices worked as obstacles on our way forward. But we overcame all of them, and we are here today.’
‘That’s true,’ Trump said in agreement, shaking his counterpart’s hand and making what appeared to be joke that was audible to only the two men and their translators as reporters were led out out of the room.
Trump and Kim then held private talks with only their interpreters before walking together along a route that provided them with another opportunity to speak to press.
‘Very, very good. Excellent relationship,’ Trump told a tightly-restricted group of assembled journalists.
The leaders ignored questions from the U.S. media on denuclearization of the Koran Peninsula, the topic of the Singapore talks.
Moments later, Trump and Kim rejoined senior officials from both nations for a meeting that was supposed to get into the nitty-gritty of a possible nuclear disarmament deal.
‘Of course there will be challenges ahead, but I am ready to listen,’ Kim could be heard telling the U.S. president in the group setting, through a translator. ‘We overcame all kinds of skepticism and speculations about this summit, and I believe that this is good for the peace.’
Trump told him, ‘We will solve [this]. We will be successful. And I look forward to working on it with you. It will be done.’
A working lunch on Tuesday featured prawn cocktail with avocado salad, green mango kerabu with honey lime dressing and fresh octopus and ‘Oiseon’ Korean stuffed cucumber as starters.
For the main course, the leaders had the choice of beef short rib confit, sweet and sour crispy pork and Yangzhou fried rice with chili sauce or soy braised cod fish.
Haagen-Dazs vanilla ice cream with cherry coulis, Tropezienne and a dark chocolate tartlet ganache were listed on a White House handout as the dessert options.
‘Very nice. Get a good picture everybody so we look nice and handsome and thin. Perfect,’ Trump jested to journalists as they were briefly allowed to observe the meal.
The almost unbelievable nature of the encounter hasn’t been lost on Kim, whose repressive regime has kept the U.S. on edge for decades through bellicose statements, nuclear tests and ballistic missile launches.
‘Many people in the world will think of this as a … form of fantasy … from a science fiction movie,’ he told the president through a translator in a remark overheard during a morning session by the press.
In their very first greeting, Trump set the tone for the talks, sending Kim an outstretched hand and patting the dictator’s right elbow with the other. Neither man smiled during the formal photo, taken on a red carpet in front of alternating American and North Korean flags.
As they turned the corner to head into their first of several sessions, however, in an area that Trump may have thought was off camera, the U.S. leader broke into a smile while exchanging quiet words with Kim and another handshake that lasted several seconds.A third grip-and-grin followed brief remarks to press inside the portion of their one-on-one meeting that was open to cameras.
For both leaders, everything was on the line on Tuesday in Singapore. Kim had the incentive of sanctions relief. For Trump, an agreement, no matter how weak was better than coming away empty-handed.
Trump had taunted his critics earlier on Tuesday in the hours before his history-making meeting with the North Korean dictator in tweets.
‘The fact that I am having a meeting is a major loss for the U.S., say the haters & losers. We have our hostages, testing, research and all missle launches have stoped, and these pundits, who have called me wrong from the beginning, have nothing else they can say! We will be fine!’ he tweeted.
He said in tweets before the sun rose over Singapore that ‘meetings between staffs and representatives are going well and quickly,’ echoing a statement from his White House the evening before that talks were progressing so fast Trump would leave Singapore early.
‘But in the end, that doesn’t matter,’ he acknowledged on Twitter. ‘We will all know soon whether or not a real deal, unlike those of the past, can happen!’
Trump’s motorcades was the first to pull into the Capella Resort in Singapore, which has been closed to outsiders for days out of extreme precaution, on Tuesday morning. Kim was not far behind, after making the under-fifteen minute drive from his hotel to Sentosa island along a route filled with gawkers.
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo shared a photo of himself marching through a hallway with a determined look on his face as his opening salvo in a tweet that declared: ‘We’re ready for today.’
Kim, meanwhile, spent the hours leading up to talks attempting to soften his image. The vicious ruler who has directed the murder of his own family members in a quest to consolidate his already absolute power posed for photos on Monday night as he went on a sightseeing tour with Singapore’s foreign minister Vivian Balakrishnan.
His tour included a stop at the Marina Bay Sands hotel and casino, where he was welcomed by a cheering crowd of tourists and local residents who had flocked to the location to take in the spectacle.
Trump began shaping news coverage of his summit with Kim, which began at 9 am local time and 9 pm in Washington, bright and early at 5:30 a.m.
Kim had spent his evening on a tour of Singapore with high-ranking government officials. He arrived at the summit after Trump and left Capella Resort for his hotel before the U.S. president.
During the rare trip out of his hermit nation, the 33-year-old Kim sat with Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong for formal talks on Sunday and went out on the town on Monday with the prime minister’s education and finance ministers.
Source : dailymail.co.uk